A real nice older lady drove in for an oil change appointment, older in the sense she had probably a decade on me. She asked me how much I charge for the service. When I told her, she literally gasped in shock. I received one of my favorite humorous lines in response.
“You can’t charge that much!”
I laughed, because I’m not the mortgage industry, a car manufacturer, an oil company executive, or a health care system worker. The government doesn’t own a part of me… yet. The entitlement mentality has damaged the populace to the extent they believe if the price they are quoted for a service doesn’t suit them, they can simply demand the service provider change it. The remark doesn't bother me because I know the people don't mean it literally. They're just surprised. Granted, I’m an anomaly. I own my land and the business, at least as long as I pay the property taxes. The chain type oil change places sometimes advertise the service for under twenty dollars. I can’t even buy the quality of oil and filter I install for twenty dollars. I use Motorcraft Synthetic Blend oil and AC/Delco oil filters.
“I do charge that much, Ma’am, but I’m sure you could find someone to change it for less. I don’t attempt to compete with other shops on oil changes.”
“Do you know what they charge?”
“If you mean other shops, I don’t know.”
“Why are you so high?”
“Because I don’t do loss leader work here, in that I don’t have sales on anything to draw in customers,” I answered simply.
“Well… if you don’t mind, I think I’ll shop around a bit. Thank you for your honesty.”
“No problem, that’ll be twenty-two fifty for the canceled appointment and honesty.”
“I’m joking Ma’am,” I added quickly, seeing she had taken my smartass comment to heart.
“Oh…” she chuckled.
I watched her drive off, glad I wasn’t doing oil and filter change sale specials, and happy she could shop for a cheaper price within her budget. I no longer wish to compete for everything. The lady politely called an hour later to inform me she was able to get it done for thirty dollars; and to thank me again, saying maybe she’d try me for other stuff. I told her to call anytime. :)